History and Future
We empower all Peoples of the Great Plains through hands-on experiences that inspire scientific thinking, to create a society of curious, scientifically literate, and engaged problem solvers.
Founded in 1989 to encourage curiosity, the South Dakota Discovery Center is housed in the historic Pierre Power Plant, built in 1933, and has been at the heart of all-ages scientific exploration in the state for over thirty years.
As the first institution of our kind in South Dakota, our mission has grown from introducing children and their families to science through our acclaimed exhibits hall to including the instruction of educators at all levels and enhancing scientific understanding through programing geared at inspiring creative minds and critical thinking in all ages.
We are a multifaceted organization with an energetic team devoted to increasing awareness of the world around us. As an educational resource, we offer many types of classes that connect scientific professionals through informal learning to public audiences. Our youth programs introduce young people to all science disciplines, focusing on the importance of protecting our environment, the impact of technology, and other facets of what it means to be a citizen scientist. Educators benefit through traveling programs, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) instruction, and hands-on professional development. Every year we work to bring new information and foundational science to the public in interesting, interactive ways, developing tomorrow’s scientific leaders and increasing scientific literacy.
The SD Discovery Center is a core of our community, open to all visitors and users across South Dakota regardless of income, education, and ability. We are a nonprofit organization, recognized as a tax-exempt educational agency by the South Dakota Department of Revenue, as well as an exempt 501(c)3 organization under the United State Internal Revenue Service. Through partnerships with organizations like United Way, EPA, the SD Space Grant Consortium, the SD Engineering Society, the BankWest Foundation, SD EPSCoR, USDA-NRCS, and donors and Friends of the Discovery Center we offer affordable access to programs and field experts in all matters of scientific study.